By Nailah Turkson and Adriana Batres

The past year has pretty much thrown everyone at Heritage Academy Laveen for a loop, especially student artists. As the soul of our community, these creatives have struggled but also been inspired and motivated by pandemic stress.

Take sophomore Tabitha Klein. The loneliness of online school hit her hard, and social distancing hit her harder. But she said that her art has improved since the start of the pandemic.  Before that, she only drew around once a month.

“I had no confidence whatsoever in my drawing abilities,” she said.

Tabitha said her art has improved significantly since last spring. She has had more free time and quarantining made her “a lot more productive with drawings” she said,

HAL Art Teacher Sherri Kuecker said she was pleasantly surprised with how her students adapted to the new restrictions, even with limited supplies in their homes. She said she “could even see some students using it as a means to get frustrations or other emotions out in a safe way.”

At HAL, students have been given the option to stay at home and do school online or come in person. Senior April Eckert was one of the many students who chose to stay online for the first semester of this school year.  She said handling schoolwork and art at the same time was not the easiest at first.

“I would often forget to check on the websites for what homework was due and my grades went down because of it,” she said.

April said that now that she is back in person, she has regained her motivation, her organization — and her ability to succeed with art.

“Recently I made a sketch on what the hospitals look like and [thought] about how heartbreaking it is to see patients left unattended because doctors can’t get to them” she said.

As difficult as last semester may have been for April, she learned some things about her creative process. She realized that she usually puts a lot of thought into an idea before drawing it, however, she would like to break away from that habit.

“Sometimes the best things come from not putting too much thought into it,” she said.

HAL junior Alonzo Mendez Luna is also an artist and expresses himself in multiple ways, such as singing, painting, dancing, and playing instruments.

Before the pandemic, he said, tended to focus on fantasy scenes and subjects relating to the environment. During the pandemic, his main focus shifted to things regarding social issues.

“I’ve been focusing on involving statements and symbols revolving around my or others’ ideologies, specifically on certain controversial statements,” he said.

Overall, this past year seems to have been a year of growth for many HAL artists Let’s hope spring quarter goes better for all students and art students.


A commission of Homura Akemi from Madoka Magica by Tabitha Klien


“Thinking of Her” by Alonso Mendez Luna